My friend, a very valued and old friend
My friend, sidelit; 19 July 2014.

This is the first of two very different pictures of an old and very valued friend, taken during a recent visit to her home in Bristol.  Neither of these photos is posed, and neither is what might be termed a conventional portrait, they may well not be to everyone’s taste – and there are certainly no cheesy grins!

Here she is sitting in her kitchen, lit by light from the single window.  The only things in sharp focus are her nose and possibly the side of her forehead, the rest is all either out of focus or dark.  Her face is there alright – but really such a representation might only be of use if she were to accost you down a dark alley in the depths of nervous south Bristol night ….

Structurally the image is mainly dark, apart from a bright cross produced by two lines of light.  One of these lines runs down the side of her face.  The other starts from lower right, then moves across her shoulder and goes behind her nape, to reappear as a diffuse glow on her other shoulder.  I’ve thought about taking that area of diffuse glow on the left out, but I’ve left it in because I think it gives the image more depth – it gives some shape to the left side of her head and her other shoulder, and it illuminates a very small part of the world behind her ->>> do you agree?  What do you think?

D700 with 105mm Nikkor; 3,200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Soft Sepia preset.

About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.

23 Responses to PEOPLE 177 – MY FRIEND, SIDELIT (MONO)

  1. Sonali Dalal says:

    Just love it. Soft light makes her so gentle!


  2. It’s a wonderfully lit photo. Bravo!


  3. It’s a beautiful portrait Adrian. The light on the right hand side of her face is almost like a gentle touch. I like the way her features are a suggestion. I hope your weather cools down over the weekend….Dry Blackthorn in plastic?!! Bloody Mary much better idea, though a long glass of Bombay Sapphire…mmm


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thank you, Lisa, thank you! I like “gentle touch” and “suggestion”, certainly things to aim for, and the latter being near to “impression”, which is a favourite visual thing of mine.

      I’m thinking about Bloody Mary’s, and may Google recipes. Now I’ve seen Bombay Sapphire but never tried it – what is it, and is it luscious??? I could be persuaded … and often am … Adrian 🙂


      • I had to reply – gin is a favourite! Not luscious but botanical, much smoother than say Gordon’s and not as nice as Tanqueray.. 🙂


        • Adrian Lewis says:

          I love “I had to reply” >>> do it, madam, do it!!! Because I have this sense of The World of Gin looming lusciously over my event horizon … glug … glug … glug …

          Questions then. Am I right in thinking that botanical gin is lusciouser (not an easy unword to spell!), in real taste terms, than straight and simple, mass market things like Gordon’s?

          And it sounds like Tanqueray is lusciousest? How to rape the English language in one easy comment. But I’ve always thought that words are there to play with.

          So, final query, if Tanqueray is wowee!!!, what in your opinion is the ideal combination of Tanqueray and anything else, the really heavenly mix?

          As you may surmise, I know little about gin, but I have drunk a lot of malt whisky in my time, although its usually at Christmas and birthday now. Thank you for whatever gorgeously glugging, inebriation information you can send my way!!! A 🙂


          • Ah the difficulty of the time difference..I see your weather is cooling 🙂 🙂 I’m no expert but I do find keeping the bottle permanently in the freezer, good tonic water and lime slices (not lemon) is the way to go – oh and frozen glasses.


            • Adrian Lewis says:

              Yes, its still pretty sweaty today, but by tomorrow morning it’ll be a bit fresher – we hope!

              Thanks for the gin hints, but what you describe does seem tremendously cold! With beer and cider, such low temperatures murder taste – is the biological gin not effected, or is its taste so strong that the iciness doesn’t matter, or are you relying on the tonic water and lime for taste? Adrian


  4. Emily Gooch says:

    Personally, I always preferred the spontaneous, posed-free, unpretentious portraits. You’ve captured the mysterious quality of her by exposing enough to keep me wanting to know more about her. Very beautifully done, Adrian. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Em, thank you very much indeed! And you’ve mentioned an aspect of images that rarely occurs to me – that what I’ve done with this one provokes mystery, leaving you wanting to know more – rather than showing the individual in their open entirety – perhaps like a Martin Parr flash portrait, that leaves nothing to the imagination.

      I may be leading a group of people in looking at images soon, and if I do then I must keep such notions of mystery in mind. Thanks for your thoughts, my friend. Adrian 🙂


  5. eevamarian says:

    So beauty and sensitive! e-m


  6. I personally love it! Sometimes the right illumination/exposure….is not what I look in a photography, but the use of it. That bright cross of only two lines of light can be enough to give shape, character and the idea of a persona. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Montserrat, thank you very much for your thoughts. I know just what you mean about the use of illumination, and giving an idea – an impression maybe – of shape, and of persona >>> you’re absolutely right! I must try to do more portraits like this, but sometimes it doesn’t come easily, I must admit.

      And the eye of the beholder – oh yes, we are (thank heavens!!!) all different, and as different in out visual tastes as in anything else – that’s the thing, this art of image making that we practice is so subjective – one loves something that another detests! Thank you again. Adrian


  7. karijeppesen says:

    …very beautiful light…


  8. Meanderer says:

    I love this. A beautiful and interesting and quite different portrait – very much to my taste. It’s really lovely – strong and subtle at the same time.

    I put my finger over the glow on the left and thought the image might benefit from it not being there – but I’m not sure.

    On a side note: Gin and tonic? 🙂


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Now I didn’t think you’d like this, M, and if it is very much to your taste, well, it shows much I don’t know you > M, Woman of Mystery! And anyway, well, look on the bright side, my not knowing you’d like this is nothing like as bad as not knowing your gender … once upon a time … 😉 ….

      But I’m glad you like it – this is me going out on a limb again – and thank you for the good things you say.

      I’m really in two minds about that glow and, following your words, I think I might compromise by reducing its brightness – maybe not as dark as the grey immediately above it. This is difficult to decide, but it might be a little too bright as it is.

      And the G&T???????? God I’m sweaty, but you don’t want to know that, but dahlinggg, I’m a grease spot, simply a grease spot!!! A fly has just landed on my dome, skidded uncontrollably, jack knifed, and gone howling off down into the abyss!!!

      So I’ve been changing my drinking habits a little in all this heat (I now inhale it …) by drinking large, cold quantities of weaker things, including OMG!!! Dry Blackthorn in plastic bottles… oh the shame! … And I quite fancy G&T at v long intervals, and so in a moment of madness I grabbed a couple of cans from Tesco, let the fridge loose on ’em and glugged ’em down. And bottom of the market as they were, there was actually some G&T taste there! Bloody Mary’s are something I fancy too – might try making my own!

      But, like you, I’m looking forward to the end of all this heat, and then I’ll be back to the usual tipples! I hope you’re fine, notwithstanding a trifle pink … 🙂 A

      Liked by 1 person

      • Meanderer says:

        I’m surprised that you’re surprised that I like this image so much! I’ve mentioned before my dislike of posed, eyes straight at the camera style portraits. I concur with Emily in that it has a sense of mystery, making the viewer want to know a little more about the person. My preference is to do with my introvert nature. Actually, one way to tell an introvert from an extrovert is to look at group photos. Usually extroverts play up to the camera, looking directly at it, often with a big smile or funny face. Introverts on the other hand may face the camera but often don’t look directly at it; they tend not to play to the camera, and often look uncomfortable. The difference can be seen in family photos, too.

        With regard to the G&T, I would say an icy cold one is perfect for hot summer days. I used to like the odd tipple of the lovely juniper-flavoured stuff myself. I always wanted to make my own sloe gin but I won’t be bothering these days as I have my lovely fruit teas instead 🙂


        • Adrian Lewis says:

          We’re all surprised then! 🙂 But all things have their place, looking straight at the camera can have its place too, but I understand the mystery thing, tho its not something that looms large in my tiny mind – as I mentioned to Emily, this is something I need to be more receptive to. I’ve submitted a proposal to lead a U3A group looking at all sorts of images – in terms of everything, including narrative, meaning, mystery etc, so I shall have to develop my sensitive side – oh this seat’s hard! ….

          I expect you see me as a raving extrovert and I suppose that I can be. I surprise people sometimes, but its often in a humorous way, or by being completely straight and open. I’ve been photographed a lot, mostly during my safari years I suppose, but I have to confess to not being entirely comfortable in front of the camera – often, giving the camera a straight (and perhaps questioning) stare is me.

          But please spare me the fruit teas!!! 😀


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